Monday, August 18, 2008

Going For Gold

America is caught up in Olympic fever. How do I know that? TV ratings? Public opinion polls? Nope. Our local NBC affiliate keeps telling us so. I see no reason for them to lie to us, so it must be true. As with all fevers, I have prescribed myself bed rest and plenty of fluids.

So, before the fever breaks, I thought it would be fun, and completely original, to figure out in which Olympic events Couper and Godiva could compete, you know, if they weren’t dogs.

Let’s break down their athletic scouting report:

Both: As dachshunds they are short legged, low to the ground and diggers by nature (though only Godiva shows any actual interest in digging). They have strong upper bodies and are surprisingly fast. They have no hands/fingers.

Couper: Much stronger than Godiva and faster than her in a straight line (especially when chasing a ball). Has back issues, which could limit his strength and endurance. Great ball catching and control skills, though he is reluctant to pass at times. Is advancing in athletic age, but his lifetime of playing experience makes him a smart competitor.

Young and small. Tireless. Fearless. Very inexperienced. Has not yet learned ball skills. Just recently learned to walk without falling down. Fast, especially when cornering. Loves to bite things. Has not yet reached her athletic peak.


We can eliminate a lot of events right off the bat:

Their lack of hands and fingers really eliminates a lot of events. Handball by definition is clearly out. They cannot pick up or use racquets, paddles, guns, bows, epees, foils, sabres, bats, oars, poles, batons, javelins, discuses, shot puts, sticks, or barbells.

Even though catching is discouraged in volleyball, their lack of height and short limbs become real disadvantages. Same problem for boxing; opponents may not be able to catch them, but they have no reach to hit back at all.

We know all about Air Bud’s exploits in basketball, but that was against kids, not NBA/WNBA caliber players. Anyhow, Couper and Godiva are even shorter than Air Bud, a definite problem. Even though Snoopy pioneered playing shortstop using only his mouth, something I truly believe Couper could match, this is Cuba and Japan we are playing, not Peppermint Patty and Marcie. You have to be able to hit at this level.

They are way too short to ride a bike. They cannot ride a horse, though that would be cute. They do not sail, though maybe they could sit at the bow and sniff out whales.

Swimming is going to be difficult. Couper has been in a real pool and can comfortably swim about the length of you to your computer screen. Anything more risks drowning. If there was a 50mm freestyle event, he would have a shot. A 50cm freestyle event might be trouble. Godiva loves water, but so far she has only stepped foot in a baby pool and her water bowl.

Godiva is about the actual size and weight of female gymnasts, but really the only tumbling she does is more accurately called falling down.

You can also forget them pairing up in anything containing the words “doubles” or “synchronized”. I can barely get them to sit together for a decent picture, let alone work together as a tightly coordinated team.

Soccer: Someday I am going to write the story of how we got Couper and we will all learn that Couper’s soccer skills are what allowed him to join the family. He has only gotten better in the years since. His ability to control the ball with his nose and chest are amazing. He also can turn with the ball at almost full speed. His anguished grunts while dribbling are going to keep away all but the bravest defenders. Yes, technically when he hits the ball with his shoulder, that is a hands ball violation, but a little creative refereeing in soccer seems to happen from time to time. And yes, he is short and possibly limited in situations like corner kicks, but you wouldn’t want to be jumping when a little dachshund could potentially undercut you. “Hey Beckham, watch out below. Wouldn’t want you to fall on that pretty-boy face of yours.”

Rowing: We already covered his limitation in holding an oar, however he potentially could be good at being the guy in the front of the boat who screams (barks) at the rowers (I am sure there are rowing terms for “guy in the front of the boat”, boat, oar, scream, and rowers, but do we really care?). Put Couper in a boat facing a bunch of people, and he will undoubtedly bark. It may not be in rhythm and the boat may wind up going in circles, but it is the chance you take. The other problem is he may start barking at the competitors’ boats. Or birds. Or fans. But bark he will.

200m dash, maybe 400m dash if she has the stamina: Her speed and ability to corner make these events perfect for Godiva. It would be much better if the corners were not so far apart. She would really excel in something along the lines of short track speed skating on dry land – lap after lap of tightly cornered mayhem.

Springboard Diving: She gets no height and has little grace, but she really likes diving into water, be it in pools or drinking bowls. The event organizers would just need a big net to fish her out of the pool after each dive.

Alternate 2:
Wrestling: Watching Godiva take down Couper, who is definitely outside her weight class, is impressive. We would have to find out which of Greco-Roman or Freestyle allows biting (one would suspect Freestyle, no?), as that is one of her biggest weapons. Maybe she just forgets the Olympics and turns pro as biting is no doubt encouraged in the WWE.

So watch out world. Couper and Godiva are getting ready for London in 2012. It's just as well that they wait four years. I do not think that London will have to put out an edict to stop putting dog on the menu. Though what is in Shepard's Pie is anybody's guess.

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